The upcoming Synod’s “working document”

George Weigel described the guiding document for the upcoming 2018 Synod of Bishops and Non-Bishops.

Anyone looking for a remedy for insomnia might try working through the Instrumentum Laboris, or “working document,” for the XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to be held in Rome next month on the theme “Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment.” The IL is a 30,000-plus-word brick: a bloated, tedious doorstop full of sociologese but woefully lacking in spiritual or theological insight. Moreover, and more sadly, the IL has little to say about “the faith” except to hint on numerous occasions that its authors are somewhat embarrassed by Catholic teaching—and not because that teaching has been betrayed by churchmen of various ranks, but because that teaching challenges the world’s smug sureties about, and its fanatical commitment to, the sexual revolution in all its expressions.

A gargantuan text like this can’t seriously be considered as a basis for discussion at the Synod. No text of more than 30,000 words, even if written in a scintillating and compelling style, can be a discussion guide. The IL for Synod-2018 reads, rather, like a draft of a Synod Final Report. And that is a prescription for a failed Synod.

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  1. JustaSinner says:

    Synod of Bishops and non-bishops…I’m not a bishop so can I go and add my input? I promise Father, I’d behave!

  2. clare joseph says:

    If George Weigel is right, then “I say it’s spinach, and I say to hell with it.”
    It seems to be a tactic of the present “administration” to make its documents so very long that virtually no one will take the time to read them.

  3. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    “The IL for Synod-2018 reads, rather, like a draft of a Synod Final Report. And that is a prescription for a failed Synod.”

    There it is. And according to Chuch Militant, a recent Francis publication now legally makes the Synod documents part of his ordinary Magisterium without vetting by the CDF, etc.

  4. JesusFreak84 says:

    “The IL for Synod-2018 reads, rather, like a draft of a Synod Final Report.” Been saying this would happen since the Synod was announced.

  5. richiedel says:

    It would be interesting to see the midterm and final reports at this point, too, along with the records of those breakout group discussions. It would be a bit much to keep pretending they don’t have those drafted yet, too.

  6. scotus says:

    Who or what decides what is part of the ordinary magisterium? Does any Pope have the authority to arbitrarly decide that something new is to be considered part of the ordinary magisterium?

  7. Semper Gumby says:

    JesusFreak84 and richiedel: Yep, a 30,000 word IL is not a good sign.

    Deo Volente, something constructive will result. Weigel made an interesting observation:

    “But above all, and perhaps especially in this time of grave troubles, what young people want (and what the rest of us want, at least in the living parts of the Church) is a Church that lives joyfully, teaches clearly, manifests holiness, offers comfort and support to the needy—and answers our questions clearly and honestly [!]. Young people (and the rest of us) do not want a pandering Church [!], but an evangelically vibrant Church that manifests and offers friendship with Jesus Christ.

    “Synod participants might also emphasize that the clarity of Catholic teaching on life issues attracts many young people today, precisely because that clarity is in sharp contrast to the incoherence about what makes for human happiness that people of all ages increasingly detect in the lifestyle libertinism of contemporary Western culture. Someone at Synod-2018 should, for example, talk about the experience of the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., which, for years now, has become both larger and younger.”

    Then there’s the example of Fr. Karol Wojtyla, his “Rodzinka” or Little Family, and the hiking and canoeing trips he led to get university students out of the city, away from the Commies, and into God’s backyard. Fr. Wojtyla would have to depart the city, I think this was from Lublin before his Krakow years, in civilian clothes and refer to himself not as a priest but as “Wujek” or Uncle.

    Once in the wilderness and hiking on a trail, a student would sometimes drop back and join Fr. Wojtyla at the back of the line for a while to discuss whatever was on his or her mind. The students, if I recall Weigel’s biography, also knew to leave him to hike in peace sometimes so that he could pray. (Though I like to think that occasionally during a hike Fr. Wojtyla was plotting his next successful scheme against the dastardly Commies. But that’s just me.)

    As we all know, a journey to the desert or wilderness to experience God, and perhaps be tested by Him, is a recurring theme in the life of the Church.

    In the mountains and the hills, the woods and streams, under a majestic night sky far from the city lights and the Dictatorship of Noise, the soul can often arrive at a deeper understanding of the Sacraments, ad orientem worship, Feast Days and Ember Days and Rogation Days, the Power of Silence and prayer, the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and His promise that He will be with us unto the End.

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